Animaladies & Fleshy Encounters

This coming week is busy – presenting at PSi#22 – Fleshy Encounters: Performing Responsibilities in a time of ecological crisis with creative writers Sue Pyke and Hayley Singer.  Exhibition- Animaladies at Interlude Gallery, Glebe, and presenting Empathic Udder-ness: Witnessing and the traumatic imagination at the conference.



Fleshy encounters – performing response-abilities

It’s getting close to the deadline for our creative collaboration ‘Fleshy encounters’ at Psi #22. Creative writers Sue Pyke and Hayley Singer and I will join forces to fragmentarily present three short readings.  Contextualised within the framework of performing climates – our works draw down to the micro, the individual, the embodied, the flesh, and death.  Expanded – they allude to violence, feminism, masculinities, sexual oppression, climate change.  One more session together before we present on Thursday 7 July.

taking shape


Starting to get enough forms to play around with on the wall.  excess and edges, boundaries and non-boundaries.  In our collaborative meet up* this week we discussed the (creative) permeable boundaries and slippages between the flesh of non-human and human animals.   The work is fragmentary, many pieces, identifiable as non-human animal, human animal and something between or other to those categories, and I think our presentation will also take this course (or not).

*   Collaboration with creative writers Hayley Singer and Sue Pyke for fleshy encounters: performing response-abilities in an era of climate change, Performance Studies International #22

collaborative encounters

Collaborating with artists who craft words is an insightful and immensely enjoyable process – a push and pull of ideas and objects, a chance to have your work and practice reflected back to you. It is also daunting and overwhelming, my tongue thickens and I retreat into materials.

Sue’s encounter with my studio in Feb is written up: “lynn’s studio is full of flesh, so much. Even while it was expected it’s way too much for my eyes to take in. It feels fatty, reminiscent of both the vernix of my children and the lamb chops of my childhood. It is overwhelmingly bruised. An assault with a cause. In this uneasy place of seductive horror I am put in mind of what I have always imagined would be evoked for me at the London waxworks I read of as a child. But here there is a sharper edge of wit, pathos and anger.  … The bodies around us pulsate, and in these palpitations we discuss what we have been reading.”

Sue’s upbringing on a diary farm is informative, she questions the size and scale of my maquettes – calling out that they little resemble “the udders of a cow who is milked to a schedule, year after year, when her udders fill to their capacity, stretched tight for maximum gain, so as to be milked until the swish of milk in the bubble at the end of the milking machine slows to a dribble or a bubble.” She is right, these udders have been drawn from images before the Animal Industrial Complex swelled and overburdened udders – these are from diagrams of 19th C ‘healthy udders’, but also they are maquettes / small studies, as I test and try out the forms and materials in which I work.  But Sue’s responses remind me that my attention is on those contemporary stretched, overfilled udders, udders blighted by overlooked and under-tended mastitis, the udders of cows who rarely feel the touch of a gentle hand, udders of cows swollen and sore, cows that are slaughtered while they are still ‘teenagers’ already spent.

Sue’s response to our session concludes with: “So, I will talk with lynn of the veins that marked a milker’s teats, as marked and as thick as my own breastfeeding breasts, despite the concern we both share, that perhaps analogies between a human breast and that of a cow is anthropomorphic, perhaps humanist. I will speak with her of the heaviness to the udders of the older cows, most of them with each quadrant swinging with the weight and shape of a human baby bottle. They hang low, never quite to the ground, but close enough and while they are all kinds of sizes, larger and looser as the cow ages, they generally match the five-inch rubber teats that I used to train the poddy calves that drank milk I took from the mix of the cows in our herd.” [Sue Pyke]


First cast from the clay mould, the udders were too small for the ceiling.  Working on human scale is a disorienting phenomena and appears too small and delicate.  These seem to want excess and multiplicity – but I’ll work with and against that.   This piece worked better on the wall.  Some initial fiddling with milk ‘strings’ some stained with a red hue, some spilling across the floor.

Udder nonsense

Having way too much fun with the relationship between udder and utter [a word I tend to utterly overuse].   This clay mould is ready to cast.  I really enjoy the strings in the background looking like thin streams of milk – I’d been thinking more elaborately of streams of white silicon – but maybe strings are able to do the job just as effectively.  IMG_4733

Collaboration ahoy …

Excellent news – the proposed collaborative panel ‘Performing response-abilities: fleshy encounters in a time of ecological crisis’ has been accepted for Performance Climates, PSi 22nd Conference at Melbourne University.  Creative writers Hayley Singer and Sue Pyke and I will work together to consider how artists might foster new imaginary climes to address, through fleshy encounters, the role of meat production in climate change.